Tesla Sets New Standards in Autonomy with FSD Beta v12.1.2 Launch [Video]

By Kevin Armstrong
v12 rolling out
v12 rolling out

Tesla has expanded its Full Self-Driving Beta program by releasing the first public version of FSD Beta 12.1.2, update 2023.44.30.12 to a select group of Tesla owners. This version is notable for its use of an end-to-end neural network, which is expected to greatly improve Tesla's advanced driver assist system (ADAS). The neural network, trained on millions of video clips, replaces much of the previous explicit C++ coding, improving the system's capability to handle complex driving situations. While Elon Musk had suggested that version 12 would see FSD coming out of beta, the release notes still label it as beta.

Tesla previously released FSD Beta v12 internally, including v12, v12.1, and v12.1.1, but v12.1.2 is the first to be available to non-employees. OG FSD Beta tester, and Tesla influencer, @WholeMarsBlog received this newest release last night and has already published his video (below).

Early Feedback & Tempering Expectations

Early reports say that FSD Beta v12 is more intuitive and drives more human-like. The feedback appears to be overwhelmingly positive, although it’s not uncommon for owners to get excited about such a monumental release that we’ve been looking forward to for many months. We may need to temper our expectations as this release alone won’t get us to level 4 or even level 3 autonomy, but it could be a significant step in the right direction. It could be as significant to vehicle control as when Tesla first transitioned to using AI for Autopilot.

Early reports say that there is a noticeable improvement in how the vehicle handles urban driving scenarios. The smoother transitions and quicker response times appear to contribute to a more comfortable and human-like driving experience. This shouldn’t be unexpected, as vehicle control is now trained on videos of humans driving instead of engineer-written code.

New Pull-Over Feature

A notable feature of FSD Beta v12.1.2 is its ability to pull over to the side of the road autonomously, a functionality showcased in Musk's live stream. At the end of a drive, the vehicle will now pull over to the site of the road instead of simply stopping. WholeMarsBlog shows off this feature in action in his video below:

Release Notes

For such a milestone release, Tesla hasn’t provided much information in the way of release notes. Each FSD Beta release normally contains a long list of technical release notes, which often need to be translated for everyone to understand. However, this time we get a single sentence that describes FSD Beta v12. The release notes simply state:

“FSD Beta v12 upgrades the city-streets driving stack to a single end-to-end neural network trained on millions of video clips, replacing over 300k lines of explicit C++ code.”

Road Ahead and Release Date

A clearer picture of FSD Beta v12.1.2 and its real-world performance will emerge as more Tesla owners receive the update and share their feedback. It will be interesting to see how the system handles diverse driving conditions, especially in areas with heavy precipitation, a scenario Elon Musk mentioned needing more training.

While this public release is monumental, the release to additional owners is expected to be a gradual and slow process. It could be months before most owners have access to this latest update. Tesla will likely gather feedback with this release and issue additional v12 betas to ignore other issues and improve the system.

While Tesla continues to innovate and refine its FSD technology, it is crucial to remember that the software is still in beta. The transition to full autonomy is a complex and gradual process, requiring rigorous testing and validation. However, with each update like v12.1.2, Tesla moves closer to realizing its vision of fully autonomous vehicles.

New Model 3 Performance, Racing-Inspired Seats Revealed, a Glimpse of the Front Splitter

By Kevin Armstrong
X/Nic Cruz Patane
X/Nic Cruz Patane

Tesla's reintroduction of the Model 3 Performance continues to inch closer, and just like the refreshed Model 3 and the Cybertruck, every peek gives us some more hints and builds more excitement. A recent observation of a partially covered Tesla Model 3 Performance prototype revealed the new Sport seats designed for improved comfort.

Posted on X by Nic Cruz Patane, the upgraded Model 3 Performance was sighted in Santa Monica, where the vehicle's engineering prototype displayed minimal window tinting, offering a sneak peek at the vehicle's improved seating. The Sport seats, resembling dedicated racing bucket seats, significantly depart from the current Model 3 seating options.

Sport Seats Coming to Other Models?

Tesla's initiative to incorporate Sport seats into the Model 3 Performance hints at broader plans to equip its high-performance models, including the Model S Plaid, Model X Plaid, and Model Y Performance, with similar seating options. This move will elevate the driving experience across Tesla's performance vehicle range.

These seats were also spotted a few weeks ago by enthusiast Fidel Grandez. Initially thought to be designated for the Model S Plaid, these Sport seats have found their rightful place in the Model 3 Performance, aligning with Tesla's vision for a performance-focused yet more affordable electric sedan.

New Wheels and Front Lip

In addition to the seats, the Model 3 Performance is rumored to showcase a suite of enhancements. Another angle gives a little bit of an outline of the new front lower splitter. Other aesthetic and functional upgrades include "Warp" 20-inch wheels, advanced braking systems, and revised suspension components.

Tesla has been testing the Model 3 Performance prototypes for a few months, signaling that initial production could be underway in North America. This step is crucial as Tesla aims to reintroduce the Performance trim to the market, having temporarily removed it from their lineup. The reintroduction is timely, considering the evolving landscape of EV incentives in the United States. While the official launch date remains under wraps, anticipation builds for the Model 3 Performance's debut, expected in the first half of 2024.

Cool Carpool Mom: How Kim Kardashian's Cybertruck Ride Benefits Tesla

By Kevin Armstrong
Instagram/Kim Kardashian
Instagram/Kim Kardashian

Kim Kardashian showcased her Cybertruck with the caption "cool carpool mom" to her 364 million followers on Instagram. The A-list celebrity and billionaire is well known for her knack for staying at the forefront of trends, making this one image a powerful endorsement for Tesla. The picture of one of the most influential celebrities of our time picking the Cybertruck as her distinctive vehicle speaks volumes about the brand's penetration into popular culture and its appeal to a broad demographic, including those who value style, innovation, and sustainability.

The Power of Celebrity Influence

Kim Kardashian's influence cannot be overstated. Her every move is watched and often emulated by fans around the globe. Her journey from reality TV star to billionaire entrepreneur has been marked by a series of successful ventures in fashion, beauty, and technology investments, making her a model of modern business acumen. Kardashian's ability to turn personal endorsements into significant trends is unparalleled, making her engagement with Tesla's Cybertruck a notable moment for the company.

Kardashian's influence extends far beyond mere product endorsement. Her strategic use of social media to connect with her audience has transformed how brands interact with consumers. She creates a personal connection that can sway consumer behavior by sharing her life, interests, and choices, including her vehicle preferences. Her endorsement of the Cybertruck can significantly enhance Tesla's brand visibility and desirability, particularly among consumers who may not have previously considered an electric vehicle.

Kardashian has recently joined the exclusive circle of celebrities seen driving the Cybertruck, a group that boasts names like Pharrell, Lady Gaga, Jay Leno, and not to forget Elon Musk himself (who, aside from being Tesla's CEO, commands a staggering following of over 370 million on X). Each of these stars wields significant influence, captivating audiences that range from thousands to millions globally.

Sustainability Meets Style

Moreover, Kardashian's endorsement comes at a time when the importance of sustainable living and eco-friendly choices is increasingly recognized. Her choice of an electric vehicle over traditional gasoline-powered cars sends a strong message about the importance of environmental responsibility, aligning with Tesla's mission to accelerate the world's transition to sustainable energy. This alignment boosts Tesla's brand and promotes a broader cultural shift towards sustainability.

In the context of celebrity endorsements, Kim Kardashian's showcase of the Tesla Cybertruck is a masterstroke. It merges the worlds of entertainment, technology, and sustainability, highlighting the evolving nature of brand-consumer relationships in the digital age. Tesla's innovative approach to vehicle design and its commitment to sustainability is amplified by Kardashian's endorsement, illustrating the power of celebrity influence in shaping consumer preferences and driving societal trends.

Ultimately, Kardashian driving a Cybertruck and branding herself as a "cool carpool mom" is a significant endorsement for Tesla, enhancing the brand's visibility, appeal, and alignment with sustainable values. In an era where brand success is increasingly tied to social influence and cultural relevance, Tesla's association with Kardashian can only be seen as a positive development, driving the brand further into the mainstream consciousness and reinforcing its position as a leader in the shift towards a more sustainable future.

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